Kenny McLean's first St Mirren goal gave the Buddies victory over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Both goalkeepers had busy afternoons with the Perth side's Peter Enckelman twice denying McLean.

At the other end, Craig Samson frustrated striker Cillian Sheridan with blocks.

But, just as the match looked to be heading for a goalless draw, McLean latched on to Steven Thompson's header and found the net with his right foot.

With St Johnstone still without a new permanent manager, Alec Cleland led the first team from the sidelines as speculation grows about Steve Lomas being installed as Derek McInnes's replacement.

Dave MacKay's free kick was smothered by Samson and Kevin Moon blasted over the St Mirren crossbar as the game began to open up after a quiet opening.

Graham Carey flashed a free kick across the face of Enckelman's goal and McLean then tested the St Johnstone stopper.

Sheridan's effort bobbled awkwardly on the turf but Samson gathered and McLean threatened again with an effort that Enckelman pushed over at the start of the second half.

Francisco Sandaza fired inches wide of the St Mirren goal and Samson then blocked from Sheridan following a Liam Craig corner.

Sandaza headed wide as the pressure on the visiting goal continued.

But it was the Paisley Saints who found the breakthrough as a route one ball was nodded on by Thompson for McLean to rifle past Enckelman.

And St Johnstone could not find a leveller in the closing nine minutes.

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